Ah, the internet. It can be a great thing to communicate with your friends and family in faraway places and even create relationships you could never have in real life. Out of all the upsides the internet has, there is one downside that is quite bothersome to me: Catfishing. Catfishing, according to Google, can be defined as "lure (someone) into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona." The definition already makes it sound illegal!
To give a short rundown on what exactly happens during catfishing, it normally begins with a very insecure individual. That insecure individual wants attention that they think they would never receive just by being themselves. The individual then goes on the internet and selects a random innocent person's photos to use as their own. They then use a fake name, the name of the person in the photos, or possibly their own name. Now that their new identity is created, they can get all the attention they ever wanted.
Besides wanting attention, there are other reasons for catfishing. Those included are, money, revenge, "for fun", etc. I find this to be a major problem. There is literally no law against it. There are laws against some of the activities that could occur during catfishing, but nothing against the act itself. Yes, there is the show "Catfish" hosted by Nev Schulman and Max Joseph that exposes catfishes who have taken things to an intimate level, but that show is barely scratching the surface. It is impossible to catch the insane amount of people who are catfishing, but the ones taking it to a certain level should get punished.
First things first, stealing other people's photos without giving them credit to get some kind of reward is gross. What if someone is talking to a catfish and coincidentally they see the individual in the photos in real life. Both people are going to be confused and uncomfortable when they find out the situation. Besides the photo stealing, there is the name stealing. Stealing someone's name to claim a different identity just seems very wrong to me. Employers tend to check out people's social media profiles and if someone is wrongly using a name it could end very badly.
The thing that first comes to mind when I think of catfishing is fraud. Someone is literally pretending to be someone else. They create a false identity for their own pleasure. Whoever is on the other end is very obviously being lied to. They are being deceived and manipulated into doing certain things, such as sending money, photos, etc. When the truth comes out, or even if it does, the individual on the other end cannot do anything about it. They cannot report it to authorities or anything and that may leave them very traumatized depending on the circumstance.
I'm not saying people who catfish should necessarily go to jail, but there should definitely be some sort of punishment. They are just going to get smarter and more deceiving. There's only a little time until it becomes even worse and dangerous of a problem.